Category Archives: Housekeeping

Military: 7 Signs You PCS’d This Summer

One month ago today we moved into our home. I’m sure there are many military families out there experiencing some of these moments right along with me….

  1. You can still spy one or two (or fifteen thousand, if you are like me) of those pesky moving stickers that never seem to EVER go away completely!
    PCS Summer 1
  2. While checking out at Bed, Bath, & Beyond (because you need stuff for your new bed, bath, and… beyond) you pause for a good ten seconds when asked what your zip code is. Zip code… right. WHERE exactly am I again?!
    PCS Summer 2
  3. The idea of going school supply shopping is entirely daunting because, didn’t we just get here?! Now I need to be organizing myself and family for a new school year?!
    PCS Summer 3
  4. Your bucket list for the summer is ten miles long. You MUST see all the new sites RIGHT NOW! Because you know, before you blink you will be looking at a new set of orders and your bucket list will still be about nine miles long.
    PCS Summer 4
  5. You assume all your neighbors have lived in the neighborhood for ages, until you remember it’s a military community and it’s summer and almost everyone is new too!
    PCS Summer 5
  6. Signing your kids up for summer camps and after-school activities feels like the ultimate test of your Mom-hood. This dance studio or that one? We missed soccer try-outs but will they still allow my child to play? Where, exactly, does that swim team compete? Wait, what time does school get out anyway?!PCS Summer 6
  7. There is a sense of immense possibility with each new person you meet and each new road you travel.PCS Summer 7

To all my fellow military spouses out there who are settling in and exploring new hometowns… may this new adventure be your best! And in the words of Matsuo Basho, remember:
“Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.”

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Back To School: We’re off to a great… good… pretty decent start!

The calendar shows me we are already pretty much done with the first month of school.  My blog shows me the last time I wrote was the last day of my kids’ Summer vacation. My messy house shows me I haven’t had much time to do cleaning or organizing.  Looks like this school year is going to be a busy one! I realize there is no one to blame but myself.

I tried to prepare myself well for the tighter morning schedule and more complicated drop off/pick up routine and back-to-school busyness.  My head’s still spinning, so obviously I didn’t prepare very well.  What’s the saying? “If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.” Yeah, well, I’m not failing per se, but I’m not entirely succeeding either.  “If you succeed to prepare but have three kids with minds and messes and emotions of their own, your house my still be chaotic.”  That sounds a little more accurate.

Let’s take a quick peak at a few of my preparation techniques and analyze their weak points.  I do this for you, my friends, so that you will not fall victim to these rookie mistakes. It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

1. My Daily Routine:
I have an excel spreadsheet that has my Monday through Friday scheduled by every 30 minutes.  I was going to post it on here, but then got creeped out thinking all the world (since “all the world” reads this blog… riiiiiight) could know what I was doing every moment of every day.  Sorry, I’m not sharing it.  Okay, fine, I’ll share a generic version with you. Here you go:

Daily Routine (I changed some of my routine around so if you try to stalk me, it won’t work.)

ANYWAY, you can see my very detailed daily routine.  Every Sunday I update a copy of it with events that will be going on during the upcoming week: lunch with friends, playdates,  meetings, my husband being out-of-town, etc.  My reasoning behind this very detailed schedule was because my days were vanishing without me accomplishing anything.  I kept wondering what I did all day and how in the world I would ever find the time to do laundry, prep dinner, or, more importantly, actually hang out with my kids on purpose.

The Weaknesses:
* I often hit the snooze button on my phone so many times that I am actually getting up with the kids.
* The weekly “special events” are so many that I can’t find time to re-insert those daily tasks that are supposed to keep my life organized.
* I forgot to schedule in “socialize after school drop offs,” “socialize after the gym,” and “socialize while grocery shopping.” Apparently I talk a lot. This gets me off schedule.
* I forgot to schedule in “temper tantrum about not wanting quiet time,” “kids debating exactly how much cleaning they have to do,”  and “3-year-old story-telling when we are getting ready for quiet time which actually takes up the whole quiet time.” Alas, the children are not robots.
* That little asterisk is way too small for me to notice and I forget to switch the laundry several times each day.

Why do I keep doing it?
The Strength: 
* When I’m standing in the middle of my kitchen wondering what I should be doing, I at least know where to find that answer. (Please tell me other people find themselves standing in their kitchen thinking “I’m fairly certain I’m supposed to be doing something productive right now, and I’m fairly certain it is not checking Facebook, but that’s all I can think to do right now.”)

2. My Very Pinterest-y “Kids School Hub”:
Check this out:

My school organization center. (before school started)

My school organization center. (before school started)

Doesn’t that look Pinterest-worthy?! Each child gets a little station complete with a file folder (with a dry-erase sticker so I can note when they have Show-N-Tell or a field trip),  a double-hook for backpack and coat, and the frame now has their chore list. Bingo! Easy-peasy! Organizational awesomeness! Not really.

The Weaknesses:
* One of the hooks fell off (they were the sticky “won’t mess up your wall” hooks) a week after school started. (I don’t have it on my daily routine to do household organizational maintenance!)
* That shoe basket is overflowing with shoes!!! My rule is only one pair of shoes in the basket, yet is still ends up overflowing every day. Strangely, there are several pairs of Women’s size 7 in that basket. I’m so guilty.
* The amount of papers that come home from Pre-School, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade is INSANE.  There are reminders from teachers, monthly newsletters, scholastic book magazines, weekly readers, permission slips, pizza orders, drawings, homework packets that need to be done, homework packets that were completed and now sent back home. Those file folder bins are overflowing already. (Note to self: Must add “empty file folders” to my daily routine.)
* The lunch bags that land on the rug in front of the hooks do not miraculously empty themselves. Gross leftover lunches found the next morning.  (Note to self: Must also add “Empty lunch boxes” to kids’ chores list.)

The Strength:
* At least all the school stuff is located in one place! I have been able to find all the paperwork, backpacks, sweatshirts, lunch bags, and dirty lunch boxes every school morning. That is an improvement from last year!

3. ___________

Well, I was going to list another prep technique, but I have run out of time! Either I post this now or I won’t get a chance to post for another week or so.  (Note to self: 30 minutes of Writing Time, at the end of the day when I’m super tired, is not enough.)

I hope everyone else is enjoying the first few weeks of school!  If you have any techniques that help you stay organized and on task, I’d love to hear them!! In the meantime, I’ll just be…. well, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be doing in the meantime. Must go take a look at my excel spreadsheet.


I Shall Not Air My Dirty Laundry

I shall not air my dirty laundry…. because I have none!!!

Whaaaaaaaat?! The truly unimaginable, incrdibley astonishing and most magnificent victory has been achieved. I have finished all of the laundry in our house. The only dirty laundry to air would be the clothes on our bodies, but then we would be naked and that would be inappropriate! So I shall claim victory in the Battle of Laundry. This day shall go down in the record book of Housekeeping History (if there was such a book); I shall look back on today with pride in my dedication and endurance; today shall be known as “Tide Pride” day (Tide with Febreeze is my detergent of choice).

I once would have thought that finishing all the laundry was a simple and silly task, but alas my enterance into motherhood x 3 has raised the chore to a whole new level…
The Enemy:
Three young children – ages 6, 5, and 3 years. No appreciation for the work it takes to have clean clothes to wear on a daily basis.
Husband – works out every morning, then goes to work with airplanes and comes home smelling like a combination of man smell and jet fuel (but looking very handsome and sweet as can be).

The Tactics:
Youngest:
 Continues to underestimate the effectiveness of napkins and wipes his mouth on his shirt and his hands on his shorts. It’s a sneaky tactic and happens so fast… before I can fling a napkin in his direction he has already struck.
Middlest: Plays hard and attracts dirt. All over. Shirt/Shorts/Socks/Undies. This tactic is pretty much based on consistancy. Every day, all over. No matter where we go, he comes back dirty.
Oldest: A tricky one, this one.  She’s very tidy. Hmmmmm… but she sweats like her momma and gets super stinky! From the looks of it she’s not an enemy to worry about… until you get close and then you realize… those pajamas must be washed immediately. Also, this one just started to clean her room. Which I just realized means shove all her clothes (dirty and clean) under her bed. Gasp! The deception! The trickery! The stealth!
Husband: The gym bag. I didn’t see that dirty laundry coming. It wasn’t in the house. It was in the bag in the trunk of his car until….. it was in the laundry room innocently placed in front of the washing machine. Noooooooooo. I was blindsided.

The Front: I decided this morning when I woke up that today would be the day. It was time to battle this enemy, go toe to toe, no holds bar, look the laundry in the eye and tell it who was boss. It was go time. I started early… first load in before my coffee. It was a sacrifice I had to make. But I won that first battle and knew I couldn’t let up. As soon as I wrenched those twisted, mangled clothes from the washing machine and into the dryer I didn’t hesitate. I threw in the dryer sheet, hit the power button, and without stopping to think twice, I put in the next load. I opted for two back-to-back loads of kids clothes. Those are brutal. So many pieces. So many tiny socks to match.  I got through those loads though, I did.  Three casualties… all being un-matched socks… I would have to deal with those later. I didn’t have time to stop and look, instead I turned to the towels and got those going. Shock and awe, my friends! Shock and awe. I was re-energized with the simplicity of folding large pieces of rectangular terry cloth over and over and over again. I made a nice neat stack… they were all the same size. It was amazing. (No. No it was not…. but it was the highlight of this day of laundry.) One last load of kiddo clothes, followed by two loads of adult clothes. I found my tempo… clothes to the dryer/dryer sheet/start/load washer/detergent/start. There was no stopping me. I was a machine. I managed to keep up my pace and carry my momentum throughout the day. I even made it to the gym for a spinning class (the spin cycle for my last load was happening at the same time… irony, no?!). And then…. it came to the true turning point of this war… I put the clothes away! It was a final blow. Those clothes could have stayed in their baskets only to get pulled out and worn without ever making it to the drawers. But no. I wanted to see this fight to the end. To the bitter end. And as I closed that last drawer of undies I raised my hands in victory… clamped them together over my head and shook them like an old-fashioned champion. (If only I had had a soundtrack playing I would have closed that last drawer in slow motion for my epic finish.)

And there you have it. No dirty laundry to air in this house. None. Until tomorrow.

(P.S. A whole blog post on laundry?! Yes. That is how big of a deal this is to me!)


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